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2013.11.14, 0.05
Anastasiya Kolomoets


Year: 2011


Genre: criminal thriller, drama


Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn


Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Oscar Isaac, Ron Perlman and other


Country: USA


Running time: 100 min


If while hearing the film’s name, you think: “Oh! Fascinating chases, curve racing and cool cars. That’s what I need”, then you’d better not watch this film. Your expectations will not be met – the movie is not about this. Beginning as a boring pseudo-action, it is developing into the light melodrama and growing into the bloody thriller with drama elements.


The director Nicolas Winding Refn got the palm branch at the Cannes Film Festival in summer 2011 for the best direction and not for chases on the screen at all. By a long stretch of the imagination can one follow the synonymy of the common storyline of “Drive” and “Taxi driver” of Martin Scorsese, but it’s only if you take it into your head too much. The main heroes’ psychology and motivating factors to do violence are absolutely different. It’s worth mentioning that regarding violence scenes Refn asked advice from French director Gaspar Noe whose Irreversible causes shudder even in 11 years after the premiere. It is rumored that one of the scenes (beating in the elevator) was shot after the discussion with Noe and successfully significantly cut due to accusation of excessive brutality by the American Association of Movie Companies. But exactly the shots of realistic violence break slowness of the story at the proper time and stun the gaping viewers making them to look forward to the denouement. It is Refn’s style perfected in European author’s movie.      


The silent main character (Ryan Gosling) whose name you will not know even at the end of the film (in the credit he is just “Driver”) and which is undoubtedly the author’s stroke for emphasizing his dark past, earns bread as a mechanic at the car repair shop, as a stuntman at the film studio and as a getaway driver. He is a born racer, he feels a car, he loves speed and adrenaline, drive that it produces. He has his established rules: he never works for the same people twice. He provides them with transfer to and from the crime site and then leaves them.


Continual close-ups, slow camera moving, long breaks in dialogues – everything is aimed to emphasize reality, controlled emotionality, restraint of the hero’s world. Sometimes it seems that a picture malfunctions and it has frozen up, but it has not – the hero blinks, smiles, looks away. And you realize that it is not a plain movie, but at least strange and thus attractive.


However in spite of the criminal background this film is about love. At the level of glances, mutual silence and holding hands. The hero and the picture come to life when the neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio appear. Everything is filled with symbolic light, a doze of romance is added – driving in the night city, speaking long glances and the song “Oh my love” of Riz Ortolani emphasizing the lyrism of the moment.


Blond Irene and her son are a united body for the Gosling’s hero, “the best he had in his life” and to carry home the sleeping boy covered with his jacket is the highest pleasure for the Driver. But they are a strange territory, the wife and the son of another man who is released from prison. And here the drive of the plot begins; it gets even odder and finally transforms the criminal film into the arthouse movie.  

From the very beginning you sympathize with the main hero, with the plot development the sympathy grows into unconscious support and empathy. You feel that everything is coming to the tragic final but keep on hoping that a part of joy should fall to his lot. Even when the hero demonstrates brutal violence trying to help Irene’s husband and Benicio’s father to clear old scores, you go on sympathizing the hero and are not surprised any more that he can impartially kill, nail a bullet into a human with a hammer and do a number of other extremely unpleasant things.


Almost the same look, not more than two-three words said, sad and deep glance – who could do it better than Ryan Gosling? Undoubtedly he is great in this role, you immediately believe him – from the moment he pulls on the drivers’ gloves and places a watch on the wheel at the beginning. Carey Mulligan’s role comes to the “furniture” role in this case (as Rina Zelenaya said in her time). She does not need acting deep affection and moral tossing between the husband and the Driver. Her main task is to emphasize with her purity, kept naiveté and detachment the significance of the hero’s wish to be a defender for her and the boy.


The soundtrack is worth separately mentioning. Undoubtedly, the film would not be that good without the music. It is not only a background, it is an additional atmosphere touch. The film starts with Nightcall of French DJ Kavinsky featuring Cansei de Ser Sexy Lovefoxxx and it sets to the particular way from the very beginning: “I am giving you a night call to tell you how I feel, I want to drive you through the night down the hills” – is like a description of the movie scene. “There is something inside you, it’s hard to explain” – is the main hero’s characteristic.

The music leads the plot adding the atmosphere to the events, accompanying the plot twists: “Left to stop at claims of all your thoughts your actions entertaining. And you, have proved, to be a real human being, and a real hero” – it’s from another song that forgoes the final College feat. Electric Youth «A Real Hero»). Even without knowing the translation you understand that “A real hero” is about the main hero, a man without name with a scorpion on his back.


Watch the film!




“There are hundred thousands streets in this city. You appoint the time and the place. I give you about five minutes. During these five minutes I am all yours whatever happens. I don’t care anything happening before and after these five minutes. Did you understand?”  


“Do you think a shark can’t be good?”


“You agreed to the robbery to return the debt of your girlfriend’s husband! Nut house!”


“I have to go somewhere and I am not sure that I can come back… I want you to know.. the fate has thrown me together with you and Benicio… - it is the best I had in my life”.


Anastasiya Kolomoyets



фильм Драйв, Николас Виндинг Рефн, Анастасия Коломоец,

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